Next Sunday kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Local health officials are hoping everyone will don their pink ribbons throughout the month of October in support of awareness efforts and the prevention of the disease.
According to Luke Smith, public health educator for the Sampson County Health Department, the Pink Ribbon Campaign is held annually the first week in October. The campaign is co-sponsored by the Sampson County Breast & Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP) Advisory Board and Sampson County Health Department.
“Its purpose is to educate women of the breast exam and the need to receive yearly mammograms starting at age 50,” Smith said. “Pink ribbons are distributed upon request to local churches and organizations promoting breast cancer awareness.”
The goal of the campaign is to get as many people as possible wearing their pink ribbons, with the hopes of showing the community’s support of a disease striking both men and women daily. Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among American women.
“Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women,” Smith noted. “About one in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.”
In addition to sponsoring the pink ribbon campaign, the local health department, along with the Sampson County Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program, work continuously throughout the year to promote breast health awareness.
“The Sampson County BCCCP Advisory Board and Sampson County Health Department raise awareness to breast cancer throughout the year when we participate in various health fairs and presentations within Sampson County,” Smith noted.
The Sampson County Health Department and BCCCP Advisory Board are hosting a rally later in October to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Smith said the purpose of the rally is to educate and inform the community of the importance of early detection and treatment of breast cancer. The rally exists to provide motivation and support to breast cancer survivors and those undergoing treatment.
Smith, and other health department officials, say they feel raising awareness of breast health care is important. For that reason, the health department is offering pink ribbons to area churches and organizations to help the community spread awareness of the disease.
“National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer,” Smith said. “The good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – can help find breast cancer early when it’s easier to treat.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.